In an ideal world, I like to think that everyone would be charitable and involved in their communities and I don’t think I’m alone in hoping for that ‘idealist’ approach. That being said, I am also a realist and understand that philanthropy can sometimes feel daunting when thrown into the daily mix like maintaining a career, providing for your family, making time for yourself in addition to your loved ones. It sometimes becomes difficult to locate a place or time slot for giving back. As a result, I wanted to cover a few small steps to implement into your routine that can result in major impacts for the greater good.

Make a Plan

You want to set yourself up for success so block off time to set up your goals and build an infrastructure. Think of it as a business. If you do the hard work now like arranging calendars and planning initiatives around soccer schedules and business meetings, it becomes easier for you to do the fun stuff like volunteering at the food bank or writing to the child you sponsor abroad later on.

Consider How

It’s important to ask yourself how you want to volunteer. Do you want to donate your time or make a financial contribution? Be realistic too. Do you have the money you need to commit to sponsoring a child? Do you have the time to visit Hospice patients? If the answer is no – then don’t commit to it. By signing on to support a charity, you commit, and therefore, people depend on you. Before you bite off more than you can chew, JoAnn Turnquist lays out a few important considerations here to help people make realistic commitments.

Somedays Seamless Transitions

As the title says, I think it’s important to focus on making lifestyle changes that effectively support outreach initiatives in order to make a broad, long-term impact on you and your community. As a result, when you initially implement some of these strategies – keep in mind that some weeks things are going to come up.

You may not be able to donate the planned five extra dollars because your daughter decided she needed extra lunch money as she’s walking onto the bus. Things happen, and while it’s important to maintain accountability, it’s also equally important to remember that no one is perfect. Some weeks you might hit every one of your goals. Some weeks you might only hit one, and that’s okay because at least you did something.

You Have Options

It’s also important to remember there are so many different opportunities for you to volunteer. Heather Yamada-Hosley did a really nice job of laying out some of the more conventional as well as unconventional options for fitting volunteer work into your packed schedule. You can find her LifeHacker article here.